Hello everyone! It's been a while since we've brought you a dev blog. We wanted to cover a lot of community feedback, and talk about the game's development coming in the future.
We think the biggest thing on many players minds is what the team is working on right now, and what we are doing to improve the core gameplay experience.
You can watch the video version of this community update below!
In terms of upcoming new content that is being released very soon, the biggest thing is 3 new game modes. They are King of the Hill, Capture the Egg, and Team Deathmatch. These game modes have already seen some testing on our public test branch, and are still in active development. These three are game modes that we promised during our initial crowdfunding campaign.
The Team Deathmatch game mode pits you and your team against the enemy. Larger dinosaurs reward more points when defeated, and smaller dinosaurs reward less points. Each enemy defeated also rewards you with marks that you can use to unlock different skins. The team that earns the most points at the end of the round wins.
Capture the Egg is basically Capture the Flag, where your goal is to raid the opponents nest and carry the egg back to yours. While you're carrying the egg, you are much slower than normal, which gives other players a chance to try and stop you with their attacks.
And, for the King of the Hill game mode, there are a number of capture points located around the map. Standing inside the area will capture it, and it will start rewarding your team with points. The team with the highest score at the end of the round wins.
On all game modes, players can also eat certain items hidden around the map to receive powerful buffs, which also apply some new flashy effects. These game modes are first tests, and we will be looking out for player and community feedback to see what other things we can do to improve them.
I did want to note that the game modes dinosaur save data will be separate from your main dinosaurs, so you won't have to worry about your survival dinosaurs losing growth or marks here! These game modes will be joinable through the multiplayer matchmaking menu in-game, and you will also be able to join your friends through the friend list.
These game modes are also delivered to you entirely through our modding backend, and are actually entirely functional as game mods. We are making these game mode source files available to modders so they can use them to create their own game modes in the future. It's our exciting first steps into more varied gameplay types for PvP content!
While new content is great, we know many players from the community would like to see improvements to the base game prioritized, and for the game to get more frequent patches to address core issues. We agree, and we wanted to cover some of the things we're doing to fix them.
First, we have already begun testing and rolling out a new hotpatching system. This system allows us to add things to the game without waiting for lengthy approval times across all our supported platforms. These hotpatches focus on adding new content to the game, and make essential fixes much easier for the team to implement. There are still a few issues with the hotpatching system and we are somewhat limited in what we can patch, but these issues will be solved with an update to our game engine.
Upgrading Unreal Engine Version
And speaking of that, we are also working on updating to the newest version of Unreal Engine. Based on our testing, we are seeing some great performance improvements to game servers which will make the game less choppy when playing on a highly populated server.
Upgrading to the latest version of Unreal will also allow us to further extend the hotpatching functionality to basically allow us to quickly patch any part of the game, including things like abilities, map changes, animations, bugs, and game crashes. We are really excited to start fully leveraging the hotpatching system, and going forward we will be focusing more on smaller quicker patches instead of huge patches that take months to deliver.
A big pain point for the game right now is the Questing system. We have heard loads of community feedback and suggestions on what we can do to improve the system. The main issues we have heard about are the repetitive quests, the lack of exciting rewards for doing quests, and how growth and marks are very easy to lose if you are killed - especially during the early growth stages where you are often very helpless.
Our plan is to begin tackling the quest system from the ground up. This means changing up the system to allow for much more variety in quests. Instead of "Collection Quests" or "Delivery Quests" we will be able to create highly situational quests based on the location they take place in, and ideally work towards having fully functional questgivers to ask for help or put the player into interesting situations.
We are also actively working on developing and implementing a metrics and achievement system that will track your in-game activity, such as deaths, kills, fish caught, hours played, critters dug out of burrows, and many other things. The plan is to have a list of achievements and triumphs you can complete to earn extra prestigious rewards, such as earning a skin for growing your creature up to adult, or unlocking a new emote animation for completing a specific quest for an NPC dinosaur.
We know the quest system is a core pillar of the game and it's absolutely essential we nail this. Once our engine upgrade is complete, the plan is to fully focus on overhauling the system and ensure every moment of the game is fun and engaging.
While we have been adding a lot of new creatures to Path of Titans, we also think a few of the original crew of dinos are starting to show their age, in both their basic abilities and also their model and animations. We have already updated a number of dinosaurs such as Ceratosaurus, Concavenator, Suchomimus, and Camptosaurus, but there's a few other dinosaurs that would greatly benefit from a TLC pass.
Some of the ones we're looking at are the Struthiomimus, Barsboldia, and Lambeosaurus, but many other creatures will also get their time in the spotlight. With these TLC passes we also plan on updating their abilities and stats, and get them to be as feature complete as possible. We will be on the lookout for feedback as these dinosaur updates are rolled out in the future, so please let us know what you think!
Other Community Topics
There are also a number of smaller comments we've received from the community that we wanted to highlight here, too. While they're not new features, they really impact the day-to-day gameplay and all improvements here are huge quality of life improvements for most players.
There's a pretty obvious issue regarding rain effects clipping through rocks, and also appearing when underground in caves. We are working on this issue in a way that will be both optimized but still look great. While we are at it, we also were looking to improve our rain effects and improve performance during dense rainstorms. We have already addressed some of the problems relating to raining during night time making the game extremely dark on mobile and some consoles, too.
Speaking of rainstorms, we have also toned down many of the rain and environmental sounds based on community feedback. We definitely agree it was a bit loud and difficult to listen do during long playsessions.
And, in regards to audio, we have also completely rebalanced the sounds when it comes to dinosaur footsteps and calls. Previously, there were weird distances at which you could hear certain sounds. For example, a baby Spinosaurus was easily heard from far distances, and it meant they could be easily targeted by hungry predators. We've fixed all that so that dinosaurs footsteps properly scale with their growth, and in general footsteps will not give away your position so easily if you are a smaller creature.This also applies to many vocal calls, with small grunts and generic calls not travelling nearly as far. Broadcast calls still travel just as far though!
We still have a lot of changes we want to make to the audio system, such as having different environmental sounds for each biome, as well as better dinosaur distant audio sounds, but those will have to come in the future.
We made some critical changes to venom in the last patch that we wanted to talk about, because it wasn't explained very well in our patch notes, and a lot of the community were asking about what our intentions with venom are.
Previously, when you were afflicted with venom, your stamina would begin draining over time even if you were standing still. And, with so many creatures reliant on stamina to manouver and perform abilities, it basically put venom-afflicted players into an unwinnable situation where they were eventually going to run out of stamina without any strategy to counter it, leaving them essentially defenseless.
We felt the better change for this was to change venom to instead dramatically reduce your stamina regeneration rate. This way the stamina you already have is still available, and gives you the freedom to use it strategically to defeat your attacker, but if you squander it you are put into essentially the same situation as the old stamina system and unable to regenerate stamina fast enough to defend yourself.
We are still looking for any issues regarding the venom system and balancing around many status effects, and will definitely be taking player feedback into account going forward!
While most dinosaurs in the game have 11 base skins, we definitely know that many players would love to see more available. We have been working on over 100 new skins for this exact reason! With a mix of natural or muted skins, and bright and flashy skins, we know it will be exciting to unlock new ways to stand out from the herd.
Here are some previews of a few skins we have created so far. These skins will be part of the updated questing system, and will be earnable in-game by completing tasks and achievements. With this system we will be able to continually add new skins and rewards to the game by playing and earning impressive feats. Some of these skins are based on modern day creatures, and some are completely unique. Either way, they will be a great way to see even more variety in the creatures you meet day-to-day on Gondwa and Panjura!
We really hope this dev blog has covered a lot of community questions and given you a good look at what's next in store for Path of Titans. We also wanted to thank everyone for all the help you've given us in reporting bugs and crashes, they are hugely helpful for the team and make it much easier to fix issues as soon as possible.
In short, we really want to focus on improving our content output speed, ensure the base game is healthy, and make sure everyone who plays is having a fun time being a dinosaur. We want to patch up any holes in our gameplay loop, and pay close attention to community feedback. Thank you so much for all your support, and we will be sure to keep you updated with future development. See you later for now!